Bank of America’s Chief Operations & Technology Officer Cathy Bessant was named as one of Financial Time’ Outstanding 2017 Leading LGBT & Ally Executives. Photo Credit: Bank of America

Mag names top allies

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Financial Times’ Outstanding has announced its 2017 Leading LGBT & Ally Executives and Bank of America’s Chief Operations & Technology Officer Cathy Bessant is one of them. In fact, she made the number six spot ahead of Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Bessant serves as executive sponsor for the LGBT Executive Council at the bank, comprised of global LGBTQ executives and established to encourage visibility of leaders who are out at work. She also serves as the executive sponsor of the LGBT Pride Global Ally program, which includes more than 21,800 members across the company globally, and in 2013, she received the Out & Equal Champion Award, which recognizes a non-LGBTQ person who played a pivotal role in championing equal treatment of LGBTQ employees on the job.

When HB2 was introduced, Bessant spoke on behalf of the bank and helped lead the way for other companies to express their opposition.

She is also a recognized leader in financial services and technology, where she is ranked number one among the 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking by American Banker magazine.


Thanksgiving service approaches

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The 42nd Annual Community Thanksgiving Service will be held on Nov 21, 7 p.m., at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 3400 Beatties Ford Rd.

Sponsored by MeckMIN, the gathering brings together a cornucopia of faiths to celebrate the holiday.The theme this year is “And Still We Rise: A Gathering for Confession, Consolation and Courage.” Attendees will be able to pray for Charlotte’s community challenges in mind and reflect on the past, progressively moving in faith, toward a better future, organizers shared. Special presenters include Hannah Hassan, Rev. Greg Jarrell and Bishop Tonyia Rawls.

In partnership with Crisis Assistance Ministry and Loaves & Fishes, canned goods will be collected.

Faith leaders who wish to be part of the processional should contact Frederik Robinson at or call 770-344-8002 for more information.

And, registration is open for participants in the interfaith adult choir, children’s choir and instrumental ensemble. Singers and instrumentalists of all ages, abilities and faith backgrounds are encouraged to participate. An optional $5 cash contribution is encouraged to cover the cost of music. Rehearsals will be at the church on Nov. 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m., adult choir and instrumental ensemble and Nov. 20, 6-7:30 p.m., children’s choir, 6:30-8:30 p.m., adult choir and instrumental ensemble. Email Linda Flynn at to learn more.

A reception will follow.

In other news, MeckMIN is looking for individuals who have stories to share about building bridges across differences in Charlotte that are not being told, not being heard and from a faith perspective. Photographs, video or other media via MeckMIN’s Interfaith blog will be included. Email for more details.


Chorus welcomes holiday season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One Voice Chorus of Charlotte invites the community to “Imagine, Dream and Wonder” at its holiday concert, “a child will Imagine,” on Dec. 1-2, 7 p.m., and Dec. 2, 2 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, 234 N. Sharon Amity Rd.

This concert kicks off the 2017-2018 season and will be followed up with two more concerts during the year — April, “the man behind the DREAM, the story of Bayard Rustin; and June, “one hit WONDER,” game-show-with-a-twist concert.

Tickets range from $65-$115 and are available for purchase online.


Group to visit Stowe

GASTONIA, N.C. — The Charlotte Lesbian Kindred Spirits Meetup Group will ring in the holidays with a visit to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, 6500 S. New Hope Rd., on Dec. 2 at 5 p.m.

Members will gather at the entrance and walk through the gardens as a group.

Organizers shared that the “garden glows with holiday spirit from the twinkling trees to the sparkling fountains and is transformed into a natural winter wonderland filled with unique festive décor including a towering tree of orchids, more than 600,000 lights, and illuminated displays.”

Participants will be able to enjoy live music, holiday shopping at the garden store, warm fires and roasted marshmallows, as well as model train displays. Also, Southern Breezes Carriages will offer horse-drawn rides from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at $6/adult, $4/child ages 3-10 and free for those under 3. A tram will be available for rides free of charge with admission if the carriage is not available.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. Cost is $14.95/adult, $13.95/seniors over 60, $8.95/children ages 2-12 and free for children under 2.


Band hosts concert

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Pride Band will hold its annual free winter concert on Dec. 17, 3 p.m., at Temple Beth El, 5101 Providence Rd. It will feature the band’s brass and woodwind ensembles.

The groups will perform traditional holiday music, as well as other selections arranged for small instrumental groups.

As in prior years, the Temple Beth El is collecting donations for Sterling Elementary School. The band asks audience members to bring one or more of the following items: playing cards, Frisbees, bubbles, coloring books, sidewalk chalk, crayons, markers, jump ropes and/or Uno games.


Center adds staff

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Freedom Center for Social Justice has announced the addition of two new team members.

Resa Baudoin was named as the new operations manager and was formerly with the Lupus Foundation of America.

Jamila Reddy joined the staff as the communications manager. She is a writer, public speaker and personal development coach.

The center is seeking to fill its faith coordinator position and is accepting applications online. Applicants must be able to identify needs and provide targeted support for highest impact in the area of culture shifts between the LGBTQ community, communities of color and communities of faith. The person selected will engage clergy and laity and be responsible for training and organizing efforts that will help increase the number of safe spaces, protections and access for LGBTQ individuals in North Carolina.


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Share your news with us

Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.